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Barpujari, Heramba K. (1949) British administration in Assam, 1825-1845, with special reference to the hill-tribes on the frontier. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029090

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Abstract

Since the acceptance of the Dewani in Bengal, 1765, the policy pursued by the British Government towards the native states on the North-East frontier of India had been mainly pacific and defensive. The aggression of the Burmese and the consequent insecurity of the Eastern frontier, however, drove them to take up arms against Ava and the termination of the first Anglo-Burmese war brought British power and Assam in close contact. With the capitulation of Rangpur, on 31 Jan. 1825, the whole of the Brahmaputra valley fell into their hands. The strong arguments of Davia Scott, Agent to the Governor General on the North-East frontier, Influences the Supreme Court to annex Lower Assam; the fate of Eastern Assam, then under military occupation was left undecided. Considering an abrupt change harmful to the body politic, Scott laid the-foundation of British rule in Assam, on the ruins of the earlier regime. The war with Ava completely altered the social and economic structure in Assam. Scott's adherence to a system which was then an anachronism resulted in administrative confusion. The government of the less profitable portion of Eastern Assam was in consequence entrusted to a native prince, in the person of Rala Purandar Singha. Reform was the crying need of the hour ana in Lower Assam, there had been radical changes in the whole administration. Unfortunately, the Raja could effect little, as such reforms must be at the expense of the former aristocracy who were mainly instrumental in raising him to the throne. The experiment of native monarchy therefore failed and the whole of Assam passed under the control of the British Government. Equally profound was the effect of these changes on the fortunes of the numerous hill-tribes, on the frontier of the province. The loss of life and the migrations which were the aftermath of the war, deprived many of the customary rights which had been conceded to them by the former government. Necessity therefore compelled them to descena to the plains and even to commit acts of aggression. The new rulers more powerful, and naturally less tolerant, resorted to measures of retaliation, but their ignorance of the nature of the hillmen and of the country inhabited by them failed to produce the desired effect. A few years experience showed that even these rude mountaineers were amenable to reason, that conciliation was a better preventive than half-hearted coercion and that each tribe was to be treated according to its peculiar needs and requirements.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029090
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:06
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29090

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